Canada Approves New HIV Treatment
Posted by pozlife on October 16, 2007
by The Canadian Press
Posted: October 16, 2007 – 11:00 am ET
(Ottawa) Health Canada has approved the first drug in the first new class of HIV medications to be brought to market in Canada in a decade.
Celsentri – the brand name for the drug maraviroc – is the first of a class of drugs called CCR5 antagonists to gain regulatory approval.
The drug, made by Pfizer Canada Inc., blocks entry of HIV into the immune system’s T cells, reducing the level of the virus in the body. It is approved for use only in people who have already been on other HIV medications; it is not licensed for people who are just starting anti-retroviral drug therapy.
Dr. Philip Berger, an HIV-AIDS specialist, said having a new class of AIDS drugs will help people who have developed resistance to existing therapies. Those are often longtime HIV-AIDS survivors who were started on a single or dual drug regime before the current triple-drug therapy was developed.
“It is definitely an advance for people who have used up all of their current options,” said Berger, who practices at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. He noted that other new classes of HIV drugs are also in the pipeline.
“For those that began on AZT mono-therapy, for example, 20 years ago or were on dual therapy, which turned out to be ineffective, for that group these new classes of drugs are critical,” he said.
The drug was approved in the US in August.
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